Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Mile-High A.I.


When we last left Carmelo Anthony, he had been suspended for 15 games as a result of the fight in Madison Square Garden over the weekend.

This morning, he wakes up with a new teammate (Allen Iverson) and Melo is no longer the "go to" scorer on his team (AI and he both average a little more than 31 points per game; both also take about 24 shots per game, which are the two most in the league.

The Nuggets have clearly gambled that their opportunity to win is now. They needed a jump start to get to the elite level in the West (along with San Antonio, Dallas, and Phoenix, and maybe Utah) and with A.I., they have the chance to get there.

What's most interesting is the dynamic: there was unquestionably going to be an adjustment period for whatever team A.I. was traded to, as he needs to have the ball in his hands. But with Anthony out for the next 15 games, the Nuggets will have to adjust once, to A.I., and then adjust again when Anthony comes back. javascript:void(0)

The Nuggets are taking a risk: can two superstars co-exist? At altitude? At the very least, the Nuggets add more strength to the West, and the League was already heavily-weighted in that direction.

A comment on the other side of the deal: much-maligned Sixer GM Billy King may have pulled a rabbit out of a hat, by generating cap space (Joe Smith), a serviceable guard with cap space (Andre Miller), and now three first-round picks (their own, Dallas', and Denver's) next year in what is expected to be a deep draft. And by moving A.I., they have 'helped' themselves in the Greg Oden sweepstakes.

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